Letter: Be prepared for Real ID at BMV

From: Sharon Krieg


I thought Jan. 19 would be a good day to renew my driver’s license before it expires at the end of the month. I made the short trip to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. My number was called and I proceeded to the desk. That was when the real fun began.

I had heard that as of Oct. 1, 2020, Real ID would be required in order to board commercial airplanes. I brought more documentation than normal, hoping that I would have the necessary documentation.

I thought I was prepared with my current license, Social Security card, birth certificate, marriage license and Medicare card. All government issued forms of identification. I was turned away because I didn’t bring two pieces of mail with my home address.

There are restrictions on the type of mail that qualifies. A Christmas card from your aunt will not suffice. A post office box will not be accepted.

This is quite a burden for many people, especially women who are more likely to change their name when they get married. If you have been married more than once and changed your name you must show documentation of the various name changes.

In order to get a Real ID you must prove four things:

  • Identity
  • Lawful status
  • Social Security number
  • Indiana residency

There are too many forms that qualify under each category to list here, but you can get a list of the necessary documentation from the BMV or at REALID.IN.gov.

Real ID is a federal mandate. Indiana is one of 28 states issuing Real ID. There are many states that passed resolutions opposing Real ID. Maine actually passed a resolution refusing implementation. There are many issues with how this mandate was enacted, including its constitutionality and privacy issues.

As of today it is not necessary to have Real ID in order to vote. I will be watching the Indiana Legislature closely to see if there are bills introduced to require it in future elections. This could be another form of voter suppression that our state Legislature is fond of enacting.

If you plan to renew your license or ID card in the next two years, I suggest you look at the list of required documentation. It will make your trip to the BMV much easier and quicker. I would also suggest that local media make a point of informing people about these changes.